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The International Writers Magazine: Review

Written by Alan Moore-
Illustrated by Dave Gibbons
Published by DC comics
ISBN: 0-930289-23-4

Jack Clarkson

With the film apparently coming in 2009 I thought I might as well introduce you to Watchmen now before you come to regret it when one of the potentially most awesome films in all history past present and future passes you by in a wave of obscurity not unlike "Serenity" before it.
I regret not being able to have read Watchmen when it first came out, what with me being minus two years old at the time (-2 BC "Before Clarkson"). Because back then, the comics industry was going on a one way trip to hell as superheroes became more immature, more brightly coloured and more badly written each and every passing day. Superman reigned supreme, and superheroes were the whiter-than-white wet dreams of nerdy kids that didn’t get out often enough. Batman hadn’t developed the mean streak that we see today and more resembled the one from the old TV series we used to be embarrassed by as kids, and the likes of The Punisher, John Constantine and Dream were but the twinkle in their creators’ eyes. Alan Moore changed all of that by adapting at least six original DC characters into a story of deceit, murder and debauchery the likes of which had never been seen. Especially when the characters are all wearing their underpants outside their trousers.

For the first time in comic-book history, the reader was presented with characters who, despite donning masks and capes by night, are faced with all the flaws and problems normal people put up with in their everyday lives. Anything from racism to old age to erectile dysfunction plagues our caped crusaders as we slowly begin to wonder if these people are the kind of folks we really want to have fighting crime on our streets?

As the title suggests, shouldn’t someone watch the watchmen?
Now that I’ve told you all this, I can already hear you saying, "But Jack, it’s all been done before." And you would be right. It has been done before… by Watchmen. Watchmen was one of those stories that inspires so many different writers that soon enough there isn’t anything creatively edible left that hasn’t already been picked off the rotting carcass.
"The Incredibles" and "Heroes" are two very important examples. They both copy/pasted the basic ideas from Watchmen, and added actual Superpowers, something that is remarkably absent from all but one of the characters in the original. Unfortunately I can’t tell you how Heroes is also eerily similar for fear of spoiling their balls-twistingly awesome endings for you. Unlike Heroes however, no amount of cheerleaders can save this world.

Like all the worlds greatest stories, it is unbelievably hard to sum up its plot in less than it takes to read the damn thing, so let it suffice that it begins with a borderline insane vigilante by the name of Rorschach investigating the murder of a famous retired superhero called ‘the Comedian’ who was thrown out of the window of his penthouse apartment. His paranoia appears to get the better of him when he thinks he’s uncovered a conspiracy to assassinate more masked heroes, but he actually discovers something even worse… it’s like a murder mystery that would have resulted from an orgy between Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie and Stan Lee! And it only gets better from there.

I dislike writing reviews to good stories; I can’t take the mickey out of something like this. So just put me out of my misery, find your nearest comic book nerd and kindly ask them to lend you their copy of Watchmen.find your nearest comic book nerd and kindly ask them to lend you their copy of Watchmen. If they say they haven’t read it, tell them their Nerd status has been officially revoked and they must now go and have sex with girls like everyone else.

I can’t guarantee the film will live up to the book, but I can assure you the book lives up to itself.
That being said, the film is going to have a fifty-foot-tall naked blue-skinned guy winning the Vietnam War to "Ride of the Valkyries!" So at least someone on the film crew’s got their head screwed on right!

© Jack Clarkson November 2007

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